AUSTIN, Texas — Texas lawmakers and advocates came together Tuesday to voice concerns and offer legislative solutions to fight human trafficking.
At 10:30 a.m. at the Texas State Capitol, the nonprofit Children At Risk, dedicated co-sponsors, lawmakers and advocates gathered for the "Anti-human Trafficking Advocacy Day and Press Conference" to discuss efforts to prevent human trafficking, support survivors and penalize traffickers.
Lawmakers expected to participate in the press conference included state senators Joan Huffman (District 17), John Whitmire (District 15) and Tan Parker (District 12) and representatives Ann Johnson (District 134), Ana Hernandez (District 143), Jacey Jetton (District 26), Matt Shaheen (District 66) and Senfronia Thompson (District 141)
Lawmakers have filed a variety of bills surrounding human trafficking this legislative session. Some would increase penalties for traffickers, while others focus on training for rideshare drivers to spot the signs of human trafficking and report situations to authorities.
Lawmakers say they've made progress to fight human trafficking in recent years, but their work isn't done yet.
"The sad thing is we haven't solved the issue. We've made vast improvements. We've made a difference. We are making a difference. But we have to keep working to stamp this out," Huffman said Tuesday.
"I think we ought to all leave here with a no nonsense attitude about human trafficking," Whitmire said.
The press conference came four days after Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott joined the Governor's Commission for Women, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Public Safety at a human trafficking awareness training at the Capitol.
The event also came one day after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the arrests of 46 people in connection with a commercial sex sting across North Texas.